HC Deb 05 May 2000 vol 349 cc248-9W
Mr. Yeo

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what financial aid the Government have provided for pig farmers in each of the last three years. [120599]

Mr. Nick Brown

The CAP pigmeat regime contains no provision for paying subsidies direct to pig farmers. However, in addition to the restructuring scheme announced as part of the Action Plan for Farming, the Government have helped and are continuing to help the pig industry in many ways. For examplePig industry projects benefited significantly from the Agriculture Development Scheme 1999, being awarded over 35 per cent. of the total grants made. £3 million of marketing/promotional money was earmarked exclusively for the pig sector. Discussions with the industry have resulted in the Government agreeing to part fund a £4.6 million industry led welfare linked promotion campaign. The interpretation of the Food Labelling Regulations 1996 in respect of origin marking has been tightened up. New guidelines have been issued to Trading Standard Authorities and to the industry. A "verification officer" has been appointed; part of whose remit is to work with industry bodies to identify cases where product is being sold at retail or catering level which misleads the consumer into believing it contains pork of British origin when in fact it is imported. The verification officer's role also includes checking progress on the commitment given some time ago by major retailers that all their own label fresh pork and certain processed products such as bacon would come from stall and tether and MBM free production systems. The date for implementing IPPC for established pig farms has been put back to 2007.